Kale Hummus Cucumber Bites

March 12, 2014 in Appetizers, Holidays

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 Green bites of kale hummus goodness in honor of St Pat.

Kale Hummus Cucumber Bites

St Patrick’s Day approved bites of healthy green goodness!

Lots of folks have added lots of things to hummus – including a few tweaks of our own: Asparagus Hummus; Hot Pink (Beet) Hummus;and Black Bean Hummus, to name a few. But I was searching for green hummus, in honor of the second biggest holiday of the year at the Kelly house: St Patrick’s Day.

I found lots, but none with kale, and so I gave it a whirl- literally – in my food processor and this is now my new favorite hummus! If you saute the kale in a little coconut oil first, it softens and adds flavor to the kale. This dark leafy green adds so much depth and flavor to plain hummus – your taste buds will be amazed! Then, just whirl it into your favorite hummus recipe – or use our recipe below – and you have even more healthy hummus and GREEN to boot, in honor of St Pat’s.

My Irish foodie wish I wrote for all:

May your souffles rise to meet you,
May your colcannon be first rate,
May you find joy in every Irish stew, and
May nothing but deliciousness be found on your plate!
Happy St Pat’s All ~
– posted by Donna

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Corned Beef and Cabbage Pot Pie Recipe

March 10, 2014 in Entrees, Holidays

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Irish comfort food – corned beef and cabbage in little pot pies.

Corned Beef and Cabbage Pot Pies

Good old American pot pies – St Patrick’s Day  edition.

These easy pot pies combine one of the greatest American dishes – pot pies – with the Irish classic – Corned beef and Cabbage. It had to happen, really. The salty flavorful bits of corned beef is perfect in a sauce with sweet veggies like onions, carrot and peas. Oh, yes, and cabbage.

You cook this dish the same way you would cook a chicken pot pie. I used corned beef I bought at the deli counter, sliced a little thicker than 1/4 inch. Then, I diced the corned beef into small cubes so that the corned beef flavor does not overwhelm the pies. I stirred in the diced cabbage after turning off the heat in the skillet, because if you cook it, the cabbage will turn to mush. This way it has the perfect texture.

You can use whatever biscuit recipe you like. James Beard’s famous cream biscuits (TWO ingredients: cream and self-rising flour!) would work well for this. Just roll the biscuit dough thin and cut into circles to top the ramekins. If you like, you can cook this in a 9 x 13 inch pan, but you will need to extend the cooking time a bit.

We at the Kellys celebrate March 17th as the second biggest holiday of the year. If you come to my house you you will meet lots of folks dressed in green – and please be prepared to eat a lot of Irish stew and colcannon. And mint chocolate chip ice cream = our neighbor insists on bringing it every year. St Pat’s Ice Cream, he calls it.

Either way, Happy St Patrick’s Day to All!

– posted by Donna

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Sushi Rolls with Cauliflower Rice

March 6, 2014 in Dairy-Free, Gluten Free, Healthy Fare

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Sushi Rolls made grain-free with Cauliflower Rice

Sushi Rolls made grain-free with Cauliflower Rice

As you might have surmised from some previous posts, I’m totally sold on cauliflower rice. Whether you’re doing the low-carb thing, living paleo, avoiding grains for any reason, or just plain packing more vegetables into your diet at every given opportunity, cauliflower rice is a great option that can be used just about anywhere rice can. I realized just the other day, though, that one common rice context  place I had never tried using it was in SUSHI – one of my favorite indulgences. Yes, sometimes I can splurge and have the real deal, but it’s also nice to have an alternative that allows you to hit that flavor profile without actually going off-program (whatever program that might be for you).

I was really pleased with how my informal, very basic maki rolls came out! I added a little rice vinegar and honey to be a little closer to the flavor of sushi rice. You can use any filling you like, of course; here I just used a little avocado, carrot and cucumber for  a veggie roll, but by all means, add some fresh salmon or ahi if you’ve got it!

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Slow Cooker Coconut Milk Poached Fish Fillets

March 4, 2014 in Entrees

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Poach your fish in coconut milk for buttery soft fillets.

Coconut MIlk Poached Fish Fillets

Buttery soft fish fillets – poached in coconut milk.

Poaching is underrated, IMHO. Especially with delicate fish fillets.

Poaching with coconut milk – plus aromatics of your choice for flavor – produces fish fillets that are buttery, fragrant and delicious. And so good for you.

This is the simplest way to cook fish – you just pour hot coconut milk into your slow cooker with whatever aromatics you like. I went with Mediterranean flavors like capers, parsley, lemon and garlic. You could add some peppers for a little heat if you like. Then you cook for about an hour on high – cooking the fish very gently The slow cooker is the perfect kitchen tool for cooking fish very gently.

Most poached fish recipes call for salmon – perhaps because of the high fat content in salmon that withstands poaching while staying moist. The oil in coconut milk provides fat and the fish absorbs it and becomes rich and buttery in texture. I used Chilean Sea Bass, but you could choose any mild white fish, such as cod, tilapia, even halibut – they all will be will be very tender and have a beautiful flavor. There is something about slow cooking that infuses wonderful flavor into your fish.

Try poaching fish and even those family members who used to turn up their noses at fish will become fish fans!

– posted by Donna

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No Cook Blender Lemon Curd Recipe

February 28, 2014 in Desserts

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 No cooking required for this easy blender lemon curd.

Blender Lemon Curd Tarts

The easiest Lemon Curd ever. And yet so delicious.

This lemon curd is so seriously delicious that most of it never made it out of the blender and into the tiny tart pans. The Hubs and I just ate it with a spoon. Very large spoons.

My sister Sandy is an amazing cook and is the genius behind Everyday Southwest – and is a holder of an actual pastry certificate from an actual culinary school. She recently made a graham cracker crust that I just had to make. And I had a recipe for blender lemon curd tucked into my wallet, and it has also been calling my name recently.  Yes, the culinary stars aligned on this one.

For the filling, you just throw everything in the blender and then you blend it for what seems like an eternity (FIVE minutes) so that the heat from the blender gently cooks the curd. ( I used my trusty Blendtec blender, which I love, love, LOVE ) Then, you just chill until set. It’s that simple. I used Meyer lemons for this – but you could try regular lemons or even limes – and I think you would get the same delicious results.

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Roasted Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich Recipe

February 24, 2014 in Entrees

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The perfect grilled cheese – spring edition.

Raosted Asparagus Grilled Cheese Sandwich

Spring vegetables – in grilled cheese form.

Sometimes I have a craving for a good grilled cheese sandwich. Like today. And so, I set out to make the perfect Meatless Monday grilled cheese!  BTW, if you’re a grilled cheese fanatic, you must check out  Family Fresh Cooking’s post – 50 Amazing Grilled Cheese recipes. I drooled over all of them.

Roasted asparagus is one of the things I look forward to the most in the spring. And you just can’t go wrong roasting it in a very hot oven just until it begins to brown.

I have learned to do these things to take grilled cheese sandwiches to a whole new level of deliciousness:

1)  Grate the cheese(s). That way, you can have a mix of cheeses and you can add a dash of acid (lemon juice) and hot sauce (cayenne pepper sauce) (I like Frank’s) to wake up the flavor of the cheeses. Try adding a little ricotta in the mix, for creaminess. The cheese melts better this way, too.

2)  Add veggies that pair well with your cheese(s). Roasted veggie slices are fabulous on grilled cheese sandwiches – because they add a roasted flavor and the roasting process removes water so that your sandwich won’t get soggy.

3)  Cook at low heat and press your sandwich as it cooks. Adding a skillet or some weight to the top of your grilled cheese keeps the bottom in good contact with the skillet and you get a fabulous crunch on the outside of your sandwich. The Kitchn recommends keeping a lid on, but I think a press is even better. Perfect golden brown crunchiness – hard to beat!

4)  Use mayo! Slather the outsides of your bread with mayonnaise – and NOT butter – to make a beautiful crust on your grilled cheese sandwich!

Hang on food fans, winter is almost over!

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Asian Lacquered Sticky Chicken Recipe

February 21, 2014 in Appetizers, Entrees

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Sweet and sticky Asian style chicken. Finger licking required.

Asian Chicken

Barbecued chicken is something I could eat most every day in the summer. And now I have found a new favorite winter chicken obsession: Asian sticky chicken.

The sauce in this dish is absolutely magical – it is the perfect blend of sweet and hot and sticky. It clings to the chicken and forms a clear glaze that is beautiful and rich looking. These are very messy to eat, but well worth licking your fingers.

Asian Sticky Chicken

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Caribbean Vacation Salmon

February 19, 2014 in Entrees

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Caribbean Vacation Salmon

Let your taste buds take a tropical vacation!

Are you sick of winter, too? Gray has never been my favorite color, but in February I hate it even more.

Since a Caribbean vacation is not in my budget, I decided at least I could have the Caribbean on a plate. This sweet and spicy salmon fits the bill perfectly.

And, did you know eating salmon makes you happy? It’s true: it’s one of the good mood foods! Win-win in the winter time, I say.

This salmon is so easy, it is ready in 20 minutes from grocery bag to table. And you can use any jerk blend of seasoning that you like, but you will need to add just a few things. Or, follow my  ”jerk seasoning” recipe at the end.

I love this Caribbean proverb: Betta belly buss dan good food wase ((Better to overeat than to waste good food). Amen!

Hang on everyone – ONE MONTH OF WINTER LEFT!!

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A Very Valentine’s Roundup

February 13, 2014 in Desserts, Holidays

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A round up of both sweet and savory Valentine treats!

My Heart Beets For You Salad

If you haven’t whipped up any Valentine’s treats yet – grab a pen for your shopping list. I love that every holiday brings a new chance to marvel at the ingenuity of fellow food bloggers. In that spirit, we thought we’d share a few of our own Valentine’s Day creations, and then share recipes and ideas we love from other bloggers, too.

If love be the music of food, play on.

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Hearty Russian Borscht Recipe

February 10, 2014 in Soups and Stews, Vegan Recipes

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Russian style borscht – an Olympic celebration for your taste buds.

Russian Borscht

This amazing hearty borscht recipe by co-blogger Anne will be served at least every four years in February at my house. That is because every four years in February I become a hermit . I love, love, LOVE watching the Olympics, and there is no dish that fits the Olympics this year more than this flavorful naturally vegan Russian stew. We made this the other night before the Olympics started and I was reminded of how stunningly delicious this soup is. The Hubs ate 3 bowls!

Borscht comes in endless variations – as proof, take a look at the 4 fabulous borschts by Natasha  at Natasha’s Kitchen.

Those of you whose only experience with borscht is as a cold magenta liquid, perhaps served with a single boiled potato, think again!This version of borscht (there are many variations) hails from Russia & the Ukraine (the former is more the Polish/Yiddish variety), and is more like a hearty stew than a sort of beet-based gazpacho. It’s still very much peasant food, though: immensely nutritious, satisfying, and seasonal. Perfect for snowy winter nights!

It’s also effortlessly vegetarian, and even vegan if you skip the dollop of sour cream at the end, or use a non-dairy version of the sour cream.

In a nod to our fabulously frugal roots, I recommend that you resourcefully save the beet greens, saute them in a little olive oil, and serve them with a dash of sherry vinegar alongside the steaming bowls of borscht. A recipe (if you could even call it that, it’s so simple) follows the borscht recipe.

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